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Memorial Day 2022: Food prices rise ahead of holiday grill outs

Yahoo Finance's Brooke DiPalma discusses inflation in food, retail, and gas prices ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

Video transcript


BRIAN CHEUNG: Americans will be spending a lot more at their backyard barbecues this Memorial Day weekend. And Brooke DiPalma is here with the details in this week's "Brooks Bites." Hey, look, things across the board are getting more expensive, aren't they?

BROOKE DIPALMA: Yeah, absolutely. And when you take a look, really, inflation has become a kitchen table conversation. It's something that every single American is trying to grapple with as, really, prices have driven up over the past year, drove up over the past year.

So when we look at particularly some fan favorites that we're going to see this holiday weekend, in particular bacon, that's a $7.42 per pound, up from $6.22. Chicken legs, bone-in there, Brian, that's going to cost you $1.89 versus $1.58. Ground beef also higher, $4.92 up from $4.10. Steak there, $9.70. That's up from $8.66. And hot dogs, one of the largest jumps dollar-wise, that's going to cost you $5.22 a pound. That's up from $3.81.

Now, many of these items are what we saw drive up prices in April's Consumer Price Index. That food at home, that grocery category was up 10.8%. That was the largest jump of food at home since November 1980. So in terms of what that means as far as the percent changes, we saw bacon up 17.7%. We saw chicken up 16.4%, ground beef up 14.8%, beef steaks up 11.8%, and hot dogs up 6.9%.

Now, I am happy to share that some items that saw little to no change in terms of particular pricing dollar-wise there, strawberries, tomatoes, and if you're looking to say a toast, wine is pretty much in line with what it was last year, red and white.

BRIAN CHEUNG: All red things.

BROOKE DIPALMA: Exactly, exactly. It's Memorial Day themed, if you want to say that.

BRIAN CHEUNG: I like that.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, so what do you think the impact's going to be on consumer spending? I mean, we keep hearing that consumers still want to spend to be able to have that kind of celebration experience. Are we talking about the same thing here with Memorial Day?

BROOKE DIPALMA: Yeah. And when you think about it, Akiko, this is one of the first gatherings that we're seeing in two years, COVID. Certainly a bit on the rocks right now, but people are looking to get back.

And when you take a look at the overall category-- I spoke to the director of commodities at Aerostream, Jerry Dalton. And he said that Americans will likely be more conservative on spending on grilling activity and more likely staying more local. Of course, those gas prices currently sitting at $4.60.

Now, I did take a look at Numerator. This is a consumer insight company. They took a look at shopping plans this holiday weekend. They said that 84% overall expected inflation impact on their shopping plans. But more specifically, 19% expects significant impact, 38% slight, 27% moderate impact on their shopping plans.

But now, how exactly does that translate into spending? Well, according to this report, we're going to see a majority of Americans spending between $25 to $120, with just 9% of Americans looking to spend more than $150.

Now, when you think about the gathering sizes and you think about these costs, with just 9% spending $150, you're only going to be able to get so much for that cost. So certainly lots of Americans perhaps making those smaller gatherings.

And when you look at prices of gas over a year ago, will people be willing to travel to farther places, perhaps family gatherings, just because of the prices?

BRIAN CHEUNG: So the key, I guess, is to just invite fewer people to your get-together. But I've just got to point out the gas element of it is really important too, because if you're grilling with propane, that's more expensive. So you mentioned there was an increase in gas as well.

BROOKE DIPALMA: Yeah, absolutely. Compared to a year ago, as you can see right here, it was $3.04 last year. It's currently sitting at $4.06. So with that impact in particular, perhaps people will be cooking for less time. They'll be more conscientious of when exactly they're turning on their grill, how long they're spending cooking, and when exactly looking to wrap up real quick.

BRIAN CHEUNG: You can't undercook the chicken legs, though.


AKIKO FUJITA: That seems a little stressful if we do that.

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